Andrew Neil could hardly have picked a more auspicious day to launch GB News. The weather was glorious, England beat Croatia in the Euros (plus Wales and Scotland, variously, are still unbeaten in the tournament) and it was a Sunday in which most Britons will have been feeling pretty chipper. Could Neil’s right-leaning, fast-talking live news channel, which aims to take on the leftie, “woke” orthodoxy of mainstream British media, have asked for a better start?
Well, yes, frankly. The sound was often out of sync, one presenter suffered a microphone failure, Sir Alan Sugar disappeared one word into his interview and the sets looked as if they had been hastily cobbled together (which, of course, they have been). However, at this early stage the glitches may well have boosted GB News’s cause, giving more credence to the idea that they are “disruptors”, outsiders taking on the slick establishment. The BBC doesn’t have glitches.
Proceedings began at 8pm, with an introductory hour in which Neil chitchatted with the talent, allowing various presenters to set out their stall ahead of their debut shows. First, however, we got a five-minute monologue from Chairman Neil, in which he stared us down through the camera and laid out exactly what was going on. The set-up felt vaguely North Korean.